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5 Ways to Mix Woods in Your Home

dark and light woods in the same room
Photo via @michellesolobay



To mix or not to mix?



Long passed are the days of perfectly uniform furniture sets (thankfully), but that raises the question of how to mix wood tones and finishes in your home in a way that looks natural and eclectic. Mixing woods may seem intimidating at first, but in reality, it's one of the easiest ways to create an interior that feels real and pieced together over time. Whether you're working with a rustic home decor style or a stripped down modern look, mixing dark and light wood furniture and frames is a tried and true way to make your space feel lived-in. 

We’re also still obsessed with our new collection of American Hardwood frames, and we’ve worked out some ways to ensure there are spots for Ash, Cherry, and Walnut in any interior. Visible, natural wood grain highlights the quality and beauty of the materials for a luxe look that's still casual.



From wood floors to the frames in your gallery wall, here are five tips to make sure you’re mixing woods for a modern rustic, accessible look.



Man with wood samples and picture frames




1. Check the undertones.


The key to mixing woods is keeping the undertones consistent. Woods with warm undertones will look yellow or red - think Cherry, Mahogany, and Hickory. These woods will work well together, even if they vary in darkness and grain. Cool toned woods will look a little bit grey, like Ash, Maple, Poplar, or Pine. Neutrally toned woods like Walnut are the most versatile. Walnut has soft purple undertones that work with warm and cool toned wood alike. Feel free to mix dark and light woods of varying finishes and grain size so long as the undertones are consistent. 



dining room table with medium and light and dark wood finishes
Photo via @francois_et_moi




2. Spread finishes throughout the room.



If you pile all your darker wood pieces on one side of a room, that side will feel heavy, leaving the room off-kilter. Rather, space lighter and darker pieces throughout the room to add visual interest and balance. Many rooms have permanent wood components, whether wood floors, siding, or exposed beams. You can play off the character of the room by adding in furniture, frames, and other wood elements to create balance. 


The same can be said of gallery walls. If using frames with a variety of wood, metal, and matte finishes, scatter each type throughout the arrangement to avoid one side feeling visually weighed down. If you want help designing a gallery wall, our expert design team is happy to help! 



Photo via @stouthazard




3. Mix up grain patterns and sizes.


Consciously or not, we register wood grain just as much as color. Generally, large wood grains suggest a more casual, rustic look. Fine wood grains are more formal. While mixing wood grains can keep a room from feeling too contrived, tune in to the mood of the room.



bright modern interior with gold picture frames
Photo via @dabito



4. Mix Old and New


More than likely, the furniture in your home has been collected over time -  a dresser inherited, a nightstand picked up at a flea market, a couch splurged on. The best rooms feel natural, as though they’ve evolved through the years.


When you pick up furniture here and there, however, the woods will almost definitely not match. We recommend embracing these differences and upping the contrast. Mixing a variety of finishes will look like a deliberate (and chic) design choice. Depending on how you style your pieces, the end result can be modern, rustic, or a happy medium between the two. (There's a reason why modern rustic is such a popular design trend!)



dining room with large woven rug and plants
Photo via @malfattiinteriors




5. Opt for textiles.


Rugs, wall hangings, and throw pillows are all great ways to break up a visual plane and make the difference in wood tones less jarring. If you have light wood floors and a dark wood table, a bright area rug serve as a natural transition. The variation in texture will also create interest and make the room more inviting. (Mixing in other hard surfaces like marble, metal, granite, mirrors, and glass can have a similar effect.)



What we love most about the modern rustic trend is that it's forgiving and adaptable. You can (and should!) add your own spin to your space. Because modern rustic focuses more on the quality of the materials, a room's design can oscillate between sleek and cozy, all the while feeling contemporary and on-trend. 


 

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